I was happily driving in my car the other day listening to CBC as I often do. As the hour changed the CBC hourly break recording came on and the announcer said: “Canada lives here”. I thought for a moment as I pondered the fact that it had been almost a decade since I had written that line. It brought back thoughts of the day I presented the concept to the power’s that be at CBC. I had offered them a list of 5 or 6 lines and there was no question in my mind that “Canada lives here” was the way to go.

The meeting lasted about an hour and by the halfway point we had all agreed that my favorite was theirs as well. I remember how good I felt, sort of proud to have contributed such an important part of the history of Radio Canada.

As the days passed I heard nothing of my precious positioning line. Never a “hey nice work” nor a “way to go” not even a “thanks for your great idea”. I assumed that was just the CBC way.

Now these many years later and long since my freelance contract at CBC had expired, I still feel proud every time I hear that line. I also feel sort of ripped off, no thanks, no royalties, nothing.

In my eyes “thanklessness lives there”.th


While I was consulting with an ad agency, the president asked me if I had any time to sit in on an interview he was having with a potential creative director. Of course I jumped at the opportunity and after the interview I began to do some thinking.

The potential creative director had a great book but he gave bad interview.

For the entire 30 minutes he did nothing but talk about himself. What he had done, the awards he had won, the campaigns he had created. What he did was miss a great opportunity to talk his way into a great new job by asking some questions.

So, here’s my helpful list of questions any creative should ask at a job interview.

  1. Why do you think I might be right for this job? Answering this question help you understand whether the company is interested in you because of they key skills you have and want to grow, or maybe for other skills you see as less important to focus on and grow.

2.What will I learn from this position? Asking this question also shows the interviewer that you’re interested in self-improvement and growing with the company.

  1. Who will I be working with? This is a great question to ask because it gently assumes you’ll be getting the position.
  1. How will my success be judged? This is a great way to demonstrate that you’re interested in succeeding (not just punching a time clock) but it also gives you key insights into the expectations of the position and the culture of the company.
  1. Is there a skill set that I might be missing? This is a bold, gutsy question. Not everyone is going to be confident enough to ask it, which is going to set you apart from the competition. To the interviewer, it shows that you’re a bold thinker and demonstrates that you’re willing to fill any gaps that might exist.

With these questions in your arsenal, your chances of landing that new gig increase exponentially…..go get ‘em.

I do a lot of consulting with ad agencies and creatively driven organizations. A good deal of my time is spent helping them win new business pitches and re-structure their creative departments.

Growing your business is no easy task in this pressure filled economy. Agencies spend a great deal of time and energy in an effort to find new clients and pitch their business to varying degrees of success.

What I try to instill in them is that a great deal of new business can come right from your own client list.

Oddly enough many companies are willing to spend a great amount of effort in pitching clients when they are involved in competitive pitches where their chance of success might be one in three or four.

My advice is to spend half that amount of time and review your own client list. As agencies, we often fall into the trap of providing a service where the client requests work and we respond by providing them with thinking and executions based on their request.

Instead, why not try brainstorming new ideas for existing clients without their prodding. Take a client and invent a need for them. Maybe it’s a Thank You program for their customers. Or how about a local booster campaign to help your client stand out in their local area?

The project is less important than the attitude and culture is will develop in your organization.

New business costs money and time. Developing the business you have takes less of both and the results will only please your clients and endear your agency.

Gotta Give Wix a Wow

Posted: November 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

As a creative director, I had often been asked if I could create a website for a client. My answer was always “sure” but it is going to be expensive. After all, I had to hire a web designer and supervise their work, give them copy, page layouts and lots of direction. They in turn had to hire a web programmer who would usually hire a bunch of low paid slaves in some Eastern European country to actually do the programing. All of this would take weeks and eventually the client would get their website. The only problem was they would then have to hire a webmaster to make any changes or updates.

That’s all history, now that I am using Wix. Not only do I find Wix totally creatively based and simple. It’s incredibly intuitive and mind blowing in it’s ability to work with a less than nerdy creative person like me.

I’ve now created a half dozen websites which I have successfully turned over to my gleeful clients, who find administering their sites simple and fun. Wix is also incredibly affordable and I have found their customer service really great.

With all those accolades one might think that Wix is paying me the big bucks to promote their site. Not true, but should they want to shove a few bucks my way, I say go ahead.


Sometimes, ya know, ya have to go backwards to move forwards. You know I’ve been writing ads since before I got paid to write ads.

Sure it may sound silly, but the use of celebrities as paid endorsers has been a tried and true method of gaining market share since Moses pitched the burning bush idea. Today, as our gen “X” and “Y” consumers continue to throw their weight around celebrity endorsements have to be handled differently. Take the new Lincoln campaign. No real pitch copy here, just a bunch of random thoughts from a handsome Hollywood hunk. Shouldn’t work right? Well guess again, Lincoln sales have shot up 35% since Mat got behind their wheel. Even South Park took notice, putting Mat behind the wheel of a Zip Car in a hilarious spoof. What ever the reason, celebrity and market share have always been partners in an imperfect marriage.

FNX9YZBGWTSNMHC.LARGEMaybe it’s me, but lately it seems advertising has been broken down into two distinct categories: Art Director Ads and Copywriter Ads.
My philosophy has always been that the best and most creative advertising is a result of the merging of the visual creativity and great storytelling. If you think about the greatest advertising concepts ever created these teamwork is evident. Think about David Ogilvy’s Volkswagen campaign. Brilliant type and art direction combined with clear cut genius thinking and a minimum of copy.
Compare that with today’s ads and it becomes evident that each ad is the result of either the art director directing everything or the copywriter telling a story with no regard to any visual component. The result is advertising that falls far short of greatness.

remember nov 11 2014